“Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.” RIP Dr. Gonzo

Counterculture icon Hunter S. Thompson, until his death in 2005, lived in nearby Woody Creek. I occasionally saw him hanging out at WC Tavern. He was prickly, eccentric and having given birth to Gonzo Journalism, wildly creative. This quote is spot on any and every day.

Honey-glazed, Tangerine Cheesecake


While Good News is okay, I have Great News. Those of us cooking virtually with Dorie Greenspan the past nine years through Around my French Table and now her new Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook, are doing the happy dance. This cookbook was just nominated in the General Cookbook division for a prestigious James Beard award.

Although Dorie has already won five Beards for her cooking and writing skills, she seems particularly pleased by this nomination. Perhaps this has something to do with the company she’s keeping. Also nominated are her friends, the legendary Christopher Kimball,  Milk Street: The New Home Cooking and well-regarded Israeli-English chef, Yotam Ottolenghi for Simple.

Juicy Salmon Burger


Due to copyright constraints we often can’t post recipes. However, this week’s 3 recipes were shared to promote the cookbook so it’s possible to do.

To make quick pickled onions, make a brine of 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 5 TBS water, 1 TBS sugar and 1/2 tsp fine sea salt. Shake or stir. Add 1 medium, thinly sliced onion. Stir to coat onions and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Besides this week’s CooktheBookFridays’ recipe choice of juicy Salmon Burgers and pickled red onions, the Food52 Cookbook Club on Facebook has chosen Everyday Dorie for its April book. If you’re interested in just hopping on and off the virtual food blogging train, check out this site. Every month Food52 chooses a cookbook and its club members (There are 1,112, 356 members!) cook from it and post when they wish. No pressure.

This was the scene from the airplane as I approached Aspen ten days ago. After being gone 41/2 months and taking into account the 24 hours and three long flights to return here, these mountains said Home.


This week’s CtBF’s recipe choice is a flavor-packed Salmon Burger. Think lemons, capers, mustard (2 kinds), scallions, dill and Greek yogurt topped off with my homemade pickled red onions and sliced avocados. We had quite the snowstorm Wednesday so after getting more wintery exercise than intended and wanting to create a moment, I built a fire, sat on the hearth and had my salmon burger with chips and a pale ale for supper. (See recipe/tips below.)


“You hit a real home run with the honeyed cheese cake last night, Mary. The best I’ve ever eaten!” Bernie Grauer, dinner party host

When I landed in Aspen ten days ago my friend, Donna Grauer, was the first caller. “I think we should have a party to welcome you home,” she said.

Now what you must know about Donna is that if she sees you can pat the top of your head while rubbing your belly, she’ll determine it’s party time. Anxious to see good friends, I agreed and offered to bring dessert.

Charlotte’s salad spoke Springtime although we’re still all about snow. Her dressing was delightful – 3 Tablespoons olive oil, zest and juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper and dash of sugar.

After finishing Donna’s fabulous dinner, this cheesecake was dessert bliss, definitely on Bernie’s desert island list. Another guest, Charlotte McLain called it a killer cheese cake. “What a treat!! I loved the delicate citrus flavor and the light texture.” (See recipe and tips below.)

Michael and Charlotte McLain (l), Donna, Fred Venrick who, was just leaving to meet his wife, Cathy, in Paris, and Bernie.

So happy to be back in the mountains, Readers. Can you tell?

Because the road to Independence Pass is closed until Memorial Day, it’s a beautiful place to hike.


Salmon Burgers:


This recipe Link goes to one of my favorite radio programs, The Splendid Table which was first moderated by Lynn Rossetto Kasper and now Francis Lam.

Salmon Mixture

TIP: I cooked my patties in three batches, two in the pan at a time. By cooking them 3 minutes on each side, they stay together fine without any binder but be gentle.

Honey-glazed Tangerine Cheesecake:

Makes: 16 servings

Add crème fraîche, whipped cream or quartered citrus fruit if you wish.


1 cup sugar
2 to 3 tangerines (or 2 or 3 lemons or 2 oranges)
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 lbs whole-milk ricotta (see note)
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tsp pure orange extract or oil

3 tbsp cookie or graham cracker crumbs or dried bread crumbs

Honey, for glaze and serving

NOTE: Working Ahead: The cake must be refrigerated for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

sugar and citrus zest


  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325°F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan, dust it with the cookie or bread crumbs and knock out the excess. Set the pan on a baking sheet. (Caterer Judy Boyd suggested to me that Keebler’s Pecan Sandies cookie crumbles would make a nice crust also.)
  • Put the sugar in the bowl or in a very large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer. Grate the tangerine zest (to taste) over the sugar and, using your fingers, rub the two together until the sugar is moist and very fragrant — it might even turn orange. If you are going to serve the tangerines or oranges with the cake, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. If you’re using a stand mixer, attach the bowl and fit it with the paddle attachment.

Cheesecake Filling
  • Add the cream cheese and salt to the bowl and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl often, for 4 minutes. Spoon in the ricotta and beat and scrape for another 4 minutes — all this beating is what will give you the creamy texture you’ll love. Turn off the mixer, add the cornstarch and then mix on low speed to incorporate it. One by one, add the eggs, mixing on medium speed for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the vanilla extract and orange extract, if you’re using it. Scrape the batter into the pan and swivel the pan to level it.
  • Bake the cake for 90 minutes without opening the oven door. The cake may crack, but that’s normal. The top may have risen above the rim of the pan and it will have browned. Turn the oven off and open the door a little — prop it open with a wooden spoon, if necessary — and let the cake rest in the oven for 1 hour.
  • Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or, better, overnight.
  • When you’re ready to serve the cake, run a table knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and remove the springform ring.
  • To glaze the cake warm about 3 tablespoons honey in a saucepan or microwave just until it’s liquid. With a light touch, brush it over the top of the cake. Pass more honey at the table, if you’d like.
  • If you are serving with tangerines or oranges, working with one at a time, stand the fruit up on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, slice away the rind and white pith, cutting so that you remove a thin layer of the fruit as well; it’s important to expose the fruit. Now, working over a bowl, cut between the fruit and the membranes to release the segments; remove any seeds. Squeeze the membranes to release whatever juice remains and stir it into the fruit. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate until needed (they’ll be fine for up to 6 hours.)
  • Use a long knife to cut the cake, running the blade under (or dipping it into) hot water and wiping it dry between cuts. If you’re using the tangerines, either spoon some fruit and juice over each slice or pass the fruit at the table.

Storing:  Wrapped well, the cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, although the glaze might not fare as well as the cake. Unglazed, the cake can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

NOTE: If your ricotta has liquid around it or if it seems loose in any way, it’s best to spoon it into a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl, fold the cloth over the cheese, place a weight, like a can of beans, on top and put the setup in the fridge to drain for about 3 hours.